Italian sausage and porcini pasta is a quick 30-minute dish perfect for busy week nights. Flavorful porcini mushrooms combined with my homemade Italian sausage, caramelized onions, and some greens, make for an easy dinner. Use the leftovers as a hearty salad the next day as this recipe is as tasty cold as it is warm.
A Family Favorite: Italian Sausage and Porcini Pasta
If I wrote a cookbook that included my family’s favorite recipes, there would be one fat chapter of pasta recipes. Besides classic pasta recipes that I prepare, I also have several just-throw-it-together pasta recipes that I rotate depending on what I have in the pantry or fridge, as well as how much time I have to prepare it. This Italian sausage and porcini pasta recipe is one of those go-to pasta recipes.
I like using rotini pasta for this recipe because its shape reheats nicely, and it’s also delicious the next day as a salad. Rotini’s twisted shape works great with chunky Italian sausage; not only that, but kids seem to love its fun shape and texture (which is great because there’s a ban on spaghetti in my house for the next 18 years!).
How to Use Dried Porcini Mushrooms
Dried Porcini mushrooms give this dish a beautiful warm earthy flavor. They usually come packaged in 1 oz. or 2 oz. bags but don’t worry, that’s plenty! These mushrooms have to be reconstituted by soaking them in warm water before using.
Place dried Porcini mushrooms in a bowl and cover with warm water and let soak for at least 20 minutes. Then, pull the mushrooms out of the water and squeeze out most of the liquid, making sure you collect that liquid in the bowl. Once the mushrooms are soaked and drained, they are ready to use in a recipe. Reserve the water you soaked the mushrooms in because it will be packed with a mushroom flavor. Strain the mushroom liquid to remove any debris and use it in the recipe to boost the mushroom flavor.
To make my Italian sausage and porcini pasta recipe you will need a large skillet. I use this 12-inch one.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ tsp fennel seeds
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces*
- 1oz dried Porcini mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 c porcini water
- ½ tsp coarse Kosher salt**
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp basil pesto
- 1-2 c spinach
- 1 lb rotini pasta
- In a small bowl, soak dry porcini mushrooms in warm water for at least 20 minutes.
- Heat water to cook pasta in a large stockpot.
- In a 12-inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions, rinsed dry bay leaf, and fennel seeds. Sauté for a few minutes then sprinkle in the baking soda and stir well and frequently to prevent burning; baking soda helps onions caramelize faster. After about 5 minutes, or when the onions are a beautiful, golden hue, add the Italian sausage and brown it over medium heat, stirring often.
- At this point, the water for the pasta should be at a rolling boil: cook pasta according to the instruction on the box.
- Drain the porcini mushrooms by hand, squeezing any liquid out into the bowl they soaked in. Give them a rough chop and add to the sausage. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds until garlic releases its flavor. Slowly pour in the mushroom water and turn the heat up so sausage and mushroom simmer while the pasta is cooking. Season with salt and pepper and dissolve basil pesto in the sausage.
- Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water, and return to the stockpot. Add a few tablespoons of sauce out of the skillet to the pasta and stir. If you’d like a bit more sauce in the skillet, add ½ to 1 cup of pasta water, a tablespoon at the time, to the skillet and stir well. Stir the spinach in, letting it barely cook and then toss in the pasta or serve the sausage with sauce over pasta.
**If using unsalted sausage, taste for salt at the end and add more salt if desired.
***Reheats well. It’s best reheated in a greased skillet on the stove.
Please notice that this post contains Amazon Affiliate links.